From the opening shots of the video, it’s clear Fall Out Boy are on a bit of a Roman holiday, so to speak. We’re shown an ancient incarnation of the famed city as the band, carted through a crowded street in bondage, are approached by some Obi-wan Kenobi-looking dude. Old Ben Kenobi palms each member of the band, comprised of Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley, and Joe Trohman, a little trinket, ostensibly for later use in whatever ordeal they’re about to endure. Cut to a sleek CGI take on the skyline of ancient Rome, and then we really start to get a taste of the “action.”
We see the band brought into the Coliseum, where they seemingly prepare for gladiatorial combat—just like in that Russell Crowe movie, the name of which escapes me at the moment. This narrative is interspersed with shots of bizarre tableaus that riff on early Christian mythology, the first of which is a clip of a crucified man. Other biblical stagings include the blessed mother surrounded by preening acolytes, a pontiff with a trio of comely Roman lasses at his feet, and a tattooed woman with a lion on either side of her (this could be construed as a reference to the treatment of proto-Christians in Rome, where many of these early adopters were “fed to the lions;” it could also allude to the Christian mythos in medieval and renaissance art, when martyrs were traditionally portrayed with the instruments of their martyrdom). Anyhow, the biblical tableaus seem a bit out of place and really don’t help make the case against Fall Out Boy’s new music video looking like something Katy Perry would appear in.
The four members of the band are then sent into the arena and made to battle a gigantic gladiator for the amusement of a presumably evil—but, like, really, really good-looking—royal couple. Naturally, they get pretty roughed up until they remember what our Jedi friend from the beginning of the video slipped into their respective hands. It is at this point that the video goes from being a cutesy allusion to early Christian martyrdom to an explicit invocation of the David and Goliath myth. The band realize Kenobi (for lack of a better name, I’m just going to keep calling him that) has given them the means to build a sling. Fall Out Boy assemble their collective weapon and Pete Wentz, their fearless leader (though his entrance into the role of David comes off as being trite at best), proceeds to fell “Goliath” with a slingshot to the forehead, much to the chagrin of the evil emperor/empress.
In essence, this bit of, well, let’s call it narrative transmogrification, causes “Centuries” to appear as a strange confluence of historical themes: a reconstruction of the “David and Goliath” mythos meets a concept based on public martyrdom in early Christianity. It may not make a whole lot of sense but hey, this isn’t exactly History class.
The title track off Fall Out Boy’s album, “Centuries” is itself, a catchy little ditty. Patrick Stump croons the implacably anthemic hook, “Some legends are told / some turn to dust or to gold / but you will remember me / remember me for centuries” while the song’s instrumentation and production value make for an infectious aural experience. As for the video, though? I’m not so sure. Although Rick Ross’ cameo at its end is not to be missed.